“At the moment, the squad just isn’t good enough.”
The words in the Nottingham Post of one Garry Birtles.
While a European Cup winner is getting the credit here, that sentence could easily have been uttered by any number of people.
There are a good few thousand ticket holders who share the same opinion.
And then many more supporters around the world.
It is a rather scathing assessment, particularly when recent transfer dealings are taken into account.
In the summer of 2018, the Reds invested a club-record fee in Joao Carvalho.
Big money was also spent on Lewis Grabban.
Hillal Soudani, Tobias Figueiredo, Costel Pantilimon and Michael Hefele also required an outlay in order to secure their services.
The same was true for Yohan Benalouane during the January window.
Asking prices fall the further you go down that list, but they all add up.
And what have Forest been left with?
“They’re just not good enough in both boxes,” Birtles said in the Post.
“At the moment, the squad just isn’t good enough. It’s as simple as that, really.”
Unfortunately, it really is that simple.
Too many players, going back to last summer and beyond, have failed to deliver on their promise.
How many of those acquired in recent memory outside of the loan and free agent markets can be considered to have provided value for money?
And are still at the club – removing the likes of Britt Assombalonga and Michail Antonio from the equation?
Any advance on Joe Lolley?
Forest have seemingly been shopping in the wrong places.
Birtles has added in the Post: “When you look at the squad Martin O’Neill inherited, and compare with other squads competing in and around the top, those teams are finding ways to win and they have the right mentality in their ranks.
“They’ve got creativity in the final third, having attempts on goal and it does make a big difference.
“It feels like Forest are a bit too one-dimensional and predictable – I just don’t think we’ve got the right amount of creativity in the final third.”
The area of the field in which most of the recent money has been spent!
It is a fair point, though, regardless of where you stand on the long-running Carvalho debate.
The Portuguese is very capable, but is he a talismanic presence?
In time, maybe, but not yet.
He was a long-term addition made with one eye on the future, but football is a short-term business.
Forest need results in the here and now.
A full summer getting better acquainted with the demands of Martin O’Neill may stand Carvalho in better stead.
It is likely, though, that the Reds will be dipping back into the market.
There will be comings and goings, with another annual refresh required at the City Ground.
The law of averages suggests that Forest will get things right eventually, but now they are being left to reflect on the mistakes of the past and frustration of the present.
Just not good enough.